What are the Functions of Motivations?

In modem educational psychology every possible effort is made to base the education of the child on its motivations modern education aims at the excitation of one or the other motivation in a child in order to make any and every kind of education natural and normal. Various motivations in a child are useful in education in the following ways:

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1. Escape

In a child one finds the motivation of escape conjoined to the emotion of fear. The intelligent teacher arouses fear and disgust towards bad things in the child. He also tries to prevent fear and escape from action in many unnecessary cases. Meaningless fears are thus eliminated.


2. Pugnacity

The instinct of pugnacity of combat is a universal motive. The most important fact that accelerates or excites it is restraint. A child whose means of locomotion are stopped by the simple expedient of being placed under restraint will go red in the face and cry at the top of its voice.

Conflict starts the moment one removes a chick from the hen, or makes fun of an irritable individual or prevents an animal from fulfilling and satisfying its motivations.

The object of animal in turning pugnacious is to remove the obstacle preventing its progress or to defeat the obstacle.


As long as the individual fails to defeat the obstacle or to remove it from his path, his internal, physiological and physiological disturbance continues. The pattern of pugnacity or combat is not the same in all animals or individuals nor is the implements common to all.

Animals having long nails or teeth use them in warfare. In most animals it is the male who is pugnacious. He combats the animals of different species, and other males of his own species for supremacy over the females or for food.

It is possible that the instinct of the pugnacity is somewhat depressed by the female hormones. Human beings and some other animals are known to threaten before actually attacking. Proverbially it is the monkey who is the best exponent of this behaviour pattern.

Some animals threaten by showing their teeth, others by making offensive noises while others show their ungentlemanly instants by hanging on their chests. Forms of pugnacity are modified by age, intelligence, social and cultural influences and social behaviours


The pugnacious motivation of cultured individual finds expression is more indirect manner. His animosity continues over the years, and his vengeance is achieved in many devious and indirect ways. Litigation is only a form of conflict and it is very common in cultured societies.

In fact, it is difficult to believe that pugnacity is only an instinct or an internal motive whose single object is conflict or fight. The motivation to competition may be innate but the pugnacious motivation is activated only when the fulfillment of a motive is obstructed.

Anger results in conflict but sometimes anger finds expression in more devious and uncommon ways.

An employee who has been severely reproved by his employer is in no position to answer him back in strong language as he goes in fear of losing his job, but as an alternative he lets off his pent up feelings of anger on his wife and children. Sometimes our pugnacious instinct is satisfied when we see others fighting.

The tension of conflict is also released and relieved when one plays games or sees others playing or fighting going on the film screen. Within the family the parents prevent many of the child’s instinctive actions so that he develops feelings of animosity them.

Children worry the parents so that the latter become angered. Children compete among themselves for the love of their parents.

3. Repulsion

The intelligent teacher does his best to develop the motive of repulsion in the child for unsavory and undesirable expedient.

4. Sex

Sex motivation of a person may be turned into more acceptable outlets such as dancing, music, art, etc., by the teacher and, particularly in the adolescent stage; this motivation can be restricted and molded to provide the desirable development in the adolescent.

5. Parental motivation

To this motivation is conjoined the emotion of pity. This motivation finds its expression in the older child’s love for his younger counterpart and for other living beings

6. Curiosity

Curiosity is the most important motivation from the educational viewpoint. It is a fundamental motivation without any definite biological basis. When any living being is confronted with any new or unrecognized object, it is natural for it to desire a complete knowledge or understanding of it.

Curiosity in human beings is accompanied by the sense of surprise. Almost all individuals are desirous of knowing new things and new places. When a child is handed something it has not seen before, it will immediately turn it over and explore it to the best of its ability.

The child is always ready with an unending list of questions. He never tires of asking questions even if the parents tire of answering them till he is forced to rebuff the child.

If the child’s curiosity is not suppressed it continues its exploration and questioning till it finally comes to know its surroundings to its own satisfaction. It is such children who turn into the best investigators and scientists when they maintain their curiosity intact in their adult circumstances.

Teachers who fail to arouse curiosity in their students regarding the subjects of study fail to achieve even a semblance of order and administration in their classes. To curiosity is consigned the emotion of surprise.

An object or thing that surprises the child also arouses in him curiosity. Hence, if a teacher is intelligent Ire will create surprise in the child regarding the subject he wants to teach with the result that the child will become curious.

Once this is achieved more than half the battle is won, since the child starts studying on his own once his curiosity is aroused. Besides arousing the curiosity of the child, the teacher also has to turn it in the required direction.

For a child to develop curiosity regarding detective novels or matters of sex may be harmful to him as well as to his normal course of studies.

Hence, the teacher must see to it that the child’s curiosity takes desirable paths, such as good books and subjects. Being curious about the subject, the child will find interest in its perusal.

7. Self-Assertion

The motivation of self-assertion occupies an importance place in the child’s character. To it is conjoined the sentiment of self-respect which helps the child steer clear of all undesirable activity and to concentrate only on the desirable one.

In order to develop self-respect, in the child, the teachers must put before him examples taken from the child’s own environment.

If instead of punishing a child for his mistake, the teacher tells him that such foolishness is not expected of him or from one of his upbringing, then the child will abstain from repeating it. He will also be remorseful.

Once the motivation of self-assertion is fully developed, the individual makes his own efforts to progress in life, since he does not want to live the life of an insect but wants to hold his head high in society.

8. Gregariousness

A child is gregarious by motivation and he naturally wants to remain with the group of friends. A child does not desire solitude.

The teacher can make the best of this instinct and help in the social development of the child.

The teacher should keep an eye on the various group tensions that develop within the school and also try to evolve healthy competition, co-operation and team spirit in the children. Blind faith in small groups may be turned to more productive channels when it is turned to love of country and Philanthropy. In this way, the child becomes socially mature.

9. Self-Submission

Of course, the motivation of self-submission may prove to be a hindrance in the child’s development but the sensible teacher can turn it towards himself and arouse feelings of respect for the teacher and a healthy regard for discipline in the child. Students are prone to accept teacher’s mandate without questioning so that success in education becomes possible.

10. Food Seeking

The food seeking motivation may be put too much fruit if indirect use by the teacher as he can instigate the student to greater effort in his study by inspiring him with vision of success in his future livelihood.

Young men are seen to work very hard as they are afraid for their bread at a later stage. The motivation of self- assertion also contributes to this process.

11. Acquisitiveness

Child motility collects many odds and takes great pleasure in doing it. It gives him a feeling of possession and pride. In their tender age children are often seen collecting stamps, match boxes, cigarette boxes and are often seen fighting to the better end for them. Within the bounds of the school, this innate tendency of acquisition can be put to constructive use.

They can be guided to collect stamps, photographs, old coins and books etc. But in this process it is essential to see to it that the child does not resort to undesirable methods of augmenting his collection.

In the school, the child’s acquisitive tendency can be adequately exploited to create a small library or a collecting of odd bits, in which the child can retain possession over them and yet allow them to be used by all his colleagues.

12. Laughter

The motivation to laughter is accompanied by the emotion of enjoyment and relief. If the children are made to laugh in class they are more inclined to accept the teacher’s suggestions. Hence, the sensible teacher can get the children to perform different tasks by arousing laughter and enjoyment.

13. Constructiveness

It is due to the motivation of cons- attractiveness that the child is seen making and breaking many things.

The teacher can teach the children to make many small objects of various kinds with clay, colors, wood, stones and small mechanical objects this has the effect of aspiring children to much greater creative effort when they grow up so that they become scientists and engineers.

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